Minnesota healthy for seniors, United Health report says

  • Article by: DAN BROWNING , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 29, 2013 - 8:19 PM

Medical care and drug coverage among factors that pushed Minnesota to top of the list, nationwide study says.

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A new senior citizen campus, Heritage Park Senior Services Center. Bob Mathews comes to the community center for the senior day programs.

Photo: Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

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Minnesota’s seniors may want to rethink their annual migrations to the Sun Belt states. A new analysis ranks Minnesota as the healthiest place in the country for seniors.

In a report by the nonprofit United Health Foundation, Minnesota took top honors based on a combination of factors that contribute to good health. The state was among the top five for regular dental visits, volunteerism, prescription drug coverage, home health care workers and a low percentage of food insecurity. Minnesota also ranked in the top five for the percentage of seniors who report very good or excellent health, a low premature death rate, mental health, and a low rate of hospitalization for hip fractures.

But there’s room for improvement. Minnesota got dinged for what the analysts characterized as “low community support expenditures [for poor seniors] and a low prevalence of seniors with a dedicated health care provider.”

Vermont ranked second, and New Hampshire third.

Popular snowbird destinations didn’t fare so well in the analysis. Arizona came in at 22nd place; Florida ranked 30th.

Mississippi came in last.

In a report last year on the general health of the entire population of each state, Minnesota ranked fifth.

The number of Americans age 65 and older is projected to rise from 40.3 million today to 88.5 million by 2050, the report says. The health care costs that go along with that threaten to overwhelm the economy. The number of seniors in Minnesota is projected to rise 54.1 percent from 2015 to 2030, just more than the 52.7 percent increase projected nationally.

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